THE devastating impact the Great War had on Hayling Island will be researched thanks to a lottery grant.
Ten per cent of the island’s men lost their lives during the First World War and now residents have been given almost £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to commemorate their contribution to the war effort.
Members of the University of the Third Age (U3A) will investigate life on the island between 1914 and 1919 and look particularly at the role women played in keeping family life going and local industries productive, the work on the farms, the School of Musketry and the VAD Hospital.
Locals will be asked to dig out photos, newspaper clippings, documents, letters and asked to record family stories passed down through the generations in order to build a picture of the realities of life at the time.
Mike Burnham, who is leading the project, said: ‘Hayling was a microcosm of the whole country because it was almost self-sufficient. It’s important that we record the information for future generations, especially as the sacrifices made had such profound ramifications and changed family life completely in this country.
‘Already in our research so far, we’ve discovered that an additional 18 men connected with Hayling lost their lives and their names are not recorded on the memorial plaques in St Mary’s Church.
‘On Remembrance Sunday this year, for the first time, their names were read out during the service of remembrance.
‘We’d like to track down the families of these men because they may be able to give us another insight into it.’
Hayling’s U3A intends to produce a book and hold an exhibition at the Royal British Legion. U3A chairman Derek Dunn said: ‘Everyone is delighted that the project has been officially recognised and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.’
Mr Burnham would like to hear from anyone who has recollections or information about family life on the island during the First World War. Grants are being made for projects to commemorate the outbreak of the conflict.
Contact the U3A at Haylingu3afirstname.lastname@example.org or call (023) 9246 9394.